VIDEO Celtic Thunder, Amazing Grace

Apr 23, 2011

Easter is the perfect to time take a moment to and count your blessings… Family, Love, Friends and laughter. May your basket be full of them; Today & Always. From Everyone in Celtic Thunder, “Happy Easter” Everyone!

Solid-Rock Faith

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer. —Psalm 18:2

My wife and I both have grandmothers who have lived past 100. Talking with them and their friends, I detect a trend that seems almost universal in the reminiscences of older people: They recall difficult times with a touch of nostalgia. The elderly swap stories about World War II and the Great Depression; they speak fondly of hardships such as blizzards, the childhood outhouse, and the time in college when they ate canned soup and stale bread 3 weeks in a row.

Paradoxically, difficult times may help nourish faith and strengthen personal bonds. Seeing this principle lived out, I can better understand one of the mysteries relating to God. Faith boils down to a question of trust. If I do stand on a solid rock of trust in God (Ps. 18:2), the worst of circumstances will not destroy that relationship.

Psalm 18 is a song of thanksgiving. The long superscription, taken from 2 Samuel 22:1, gives the circumstances that led David to write this song of deliverance: “A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord, who spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.” David used seven metaphors to describe the Lord: He is a rock, fortress, and deliverer. He is our strength, shield, horn of salvation, and stronghold (vv. 2-3).

Solid-rock faith allows me to believe that despite the chaos of the present moment, God does reign. Regardless of how worthless I may feel, I truly matter to a God of love. No pain lasts forever, and no evil triumphs in the end.

Solid-rock faith sees even the darkest deed of all history, the death of God’s Son, as a necessary prelude to the brightest moment in all history—His resurrection and triumph over death.

Lord, You are the Rock, the object of my faith. My faith stands on You and not on my shifting feelings; otherwise I would be sure to fall.

Christ, the Rock, is our sure hope.

By Philip Yancey

How to Listen to God’s Word

Nehemiah 8:1-18

How is it that two people can sit in the same pew, hear the same sermon about the same portion of Scripture, and walk away with two different reactions? One is joyful and the other is unaffected. I think the reason is that some people do not know how to listen to the Word of God.

Nehemiah 8 is an amazing scene of God’s people coming together to hear His Word. Remember that they didn’t have individual copies of Scripture to read. For generations, the events of Genesis through Deuteronomy were passed down from parent to child. Moreover, the people had been in captivity for many years. This was the first time most of them heard the Word read. Imagine their excitement as they listened attentively for the Lord to speak to them.

The Israelites were hungry for God’s Word. Are you? Do you listen eagerly and with an expectant mind and heart? The length of a person’s attention span is directly related to the intensity of his hunger for something. If you crave to know more of God, then your mind is going to be fastened on what He’s saying through your pastor or your personal reading. And the reality is that nothing in the world matters as much as what the Lord has to say.

So many things clamor for our focus but few truly deserve it. The Lord is worthy of nothing less than our undivided attention. He has something to say to every person. So whoever listens to God’s Word with an open heart and alert mind will receive from Him.

The Stars Also

“And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.” (Genesis 1:16)

On the fourth day of the creation week, God made the two lights for day and night, and then—almost like an afterthought—“he made the stars also.” Nothing, of course, is an afterthought with God, but this emphasizes the relative importance of these parts of His creation. Whether or not the earth is the geographical center of the universe, Earth is the center of God’s interest in the universe. This is where He created man and woman in His own image, and where He will reign over His creation in the ages to come.

The primary purpose of the stars, as well as the sun and moon, was “to divide the day from the night; and . . . be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And . . . to give light upon the earth” (Genesis 1:14-15). They could not fulfill these functions, of course, if their light could not be seen on the earth, so we can be sure that these heavenly bodies and their light rays were created—like Adam and Eve—“full-grown,” in a state of functioning maturity.

All that can be known scientifically about the stars must be determined from their light intensity and spectra. (Their distances can be measured geometrically only to about 300 light-years.) Any other information—any greater distances, size, temperature, etc.—must be derived by inference, based on some theory of stellar evolution.

Although the stars all look alike (even through a telescope, they all appear as mere points of light), these calculations have shown that each one is unique, as revealed long ago in Scripture: “One star differeth from another star in glory” (1 Corinthians 15:41). Those who believe can learn more about them in the ages to come, for “they that be wise shall shine . . . as the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3). HMM

Just Wait on God

Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation. —Psalm 62:1

I think we are the busiest bunch of eager beavers ever seen in the religious world. The idea seems to be that if we are not running in a circle, breathing down the back of our own neck, we are not pleasing God!

When Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), Peter probably leaped to his feet and, no doubt, scooped up his hat on the way out. He was going to go right then!

But the Lord said, “Peter, come back, and ‘tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high’ (Luke 24:49).”

I heard a Christian leader warn recently that we are suffering from a rash of amateurism in Christian circles. Christianity has leveled down and down and down. We are as light as butterflies—though we flit, flit, flit around in the sunshine and imagine that we are eagles flapping our broad wings.

Sometimes I think the Church would be better off if we would call a moratorium on activity for about six weeks and just wait on God to see what He is waiting to do for us. That’s what they did before Pentecost.

Lord, this morning I’ll stop for a while at least to “just wait on God.” I know You’re wanting to work, and I for one am willing to wait this morning to hear Your voice and discover what You want to do for me today. Amen.

All Had a Share in Putting Jesus on the Cross

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. 1 Peter 3:18

There is a strange conspiracy of silence in the world today—even in religious circles—about man’s responsibility for sin, the reality of judgment, and about an outraged God and the necessity for a crucified Saviour.

But still there lies a great shadow upon every man and every woman—the fact that our Lord was bruised and wounded and crucified for the entire human race! This is the basic human responsibility that men are trying to push off and evade. Let us not eloquently blame Judas nor Pilate. Let us not curl our lips at Judas and accuse: “He sold Him for money!”

Oh, they were guilty, certainly! But they were our accomplices in crime. They and we put Him on the cross, not they alone. That rising malice and anger that burns so hotly in your breast today put Him there! The evil, the hatred, the suspicion, the jealousy, the lying tongue, the cheating, the carnality, the fleshly love of pleasure—all of these in natural man joined in putting Him on the cross!

There is a powerful movement swirling throughout the world designed to give people peace of mind in relieving them of any historical responsibility for the trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. But we may as well admit it. Every one of us in Adam’s race had a share in putting Him on the cross!

Resurrection Power

Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. MATTHEW 28:18

Let us be confident, Christian brethren, that our power does not lie in the manger at Bethlehem nor in the relics of the cross. True spiritual power resides in the victory of the mighty, resurrected Lord of glory, who could pronounce after spoiling death: “All power is given me in heaven and in earth.”

The power of the Christian believer lies in the Savior’s triumph of eternal glory!

Christ’s resurrection brought about a startling change of direction for the believers. Sadness and fear and mourning marked the direction of their religion before they knew that Jesus was raised from the dead—their direction was towards the grave. When they heard the angelic witness, “He is risen, as He said,” the direction immediately shifted away from the tomb—”He is risen, indeed!” If this is not the meaning of Easter, the Christian church is involved only in a shallow one-day festival each year.

Thankfully, the resurrection morning was only the beginning of a great, vast outreach that has never ended—and will not end until our Lord Jesus Christ comes back again!

Dear Heavenly Father, speed the triumphant resurrection message into areas not yet reached by the gospel. Strengthen, encourage and equip Your servants for this awesome task.